Since many of you aren’t old enough to remember the year 1968, here’s a quick history lesson:

1968 is recognized as being a pivotal year in United States and the world.

On January 31st, Viet Cong opened the Tet Offensive by attacking major cities of South Vietnam, a move that triggered President Lyndon B. Johnson’s call for peace negotiations.

March 31st, L.B.J. surprised the nation by choosing not to run for reelection.

On April 4th, civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. was shot and killed in Memphis, Tennessee, leading to riots in Washington, D.C. and other cities.

In June, Robert F. Kennedy, former U.S. attorney general and U.S. senator from New York, was assassinated in Los Angeles while campaigning for the Democratic Presidential nomination.

At Mexico City’s Summer Olympic Games, African American sprinters Tommie Smith and John Carlos won gold and bronze medals, then bowed their heads and raised clenched fists during the playing of the U.S. national anthem in protest of U.S. racism.

In August, the Democratic National Convention in Chicago was marred by clashes between Vietnam War protesters and Mayor Daley’s police force.

And in November, Richard Nixon was elected President with running mate Spiro Agnew, making one of the most extraordinary political comebacks in U.S. history.

These and other events marked the year as a benchmark of unrest, tumult, and change.

I spent an hour or so browsing websites detailing all the cool things that happened in 1968, and not one mentions that on this day, November 7th, a baby boy was born in a relatively quiet western Missouri town who would grow up to become one of the




Instead, the record of my birth gets shoved under the proverbial rug with such lacunal phrases as “other events.”

I’m in the gap. An empty space. Where things aren’t stated outright but vaguely implied.

Well I won’t be a gap, dammit! This blog, The Cheek of God, will become Internet’s one-stop repository of information about the-one-person-who-isn’t-listed-elsewhere-but-nevertheless-is-by-far-the-most-important-person-to-be-born-on-this-day-in-the-year-1968.

Contrary to Dr. Phil, it IS about me!

Honestly, all this braggadocio is so not me.

I’m a wallflower.

A footnote.

Barely an asterisk in the annals of time.

But I have had my cake. And I’ve eaten it, too.

For the first time in a long time, I can say, with a straight face, that it’s good to be me. I have a wonderful family. A beautiful and forgiving wife. For now, I have a job. I’m still able to think and reason and learn something new every day. In more ways that I can possible count, I am indeed blessed.

I have no clue what tomorrow holds. But I know that today I am loved, capable of loving others, and breathing in and out with relative ease. So I have decided to take the day off and celebrate. Have a three day weekend.

For those of you good at math, you’ll realize this is sort of a milestone birthday. The kind you don’t forget. I DO NOT want to tell my grandkids that I spent the day at work, with people who only pretend to care. Instead, I will tell them a tale of adventure and snuggle hugs and bacon sandwiches in bed, prepared by my youngest daughter. (In a family this big, secrets are hard to keep, so I must wrap this up and get back to bed so I can have breakfast in it later . . . ) I will remember this day as one filled with joy.

Regrets? Yeah, I got some of those. A can give you the short list, with a hint of a smile and my best “But I’m alright!” or the exhaustive, depressingly long one. Depends on which day you ask me. But today I will table them. The floor will not be open for discussion or debate. I will not concede my time to the gentleman from wherever.

I will live this day. I will blog about it tomorrow.

And I will beg for gifts . . .

My Amazon.com Wish List

[photo credit]


25 thoughts on “1968

  1. Happy Birthday!!!!

    For my 40th birthday, I went to Hawaii and spent a week just being lazy in the sun with my son. He still has very fond memories of that vacation, in which he got a terrible sunburn but snorkeled in Haunauma Bay and got to go to a luau. He’ll never look at coconuts the same way again!

    Peace – D

  2. Happy Birthday!! The part where you speak of being a wallflower, a footnote… reminds me of something a friend of mine said to me yesterday. He said that blogging made me a nerd and solipsistic. Do you agree?

  3. RiverPoet – I have never been to Hawaii. Will probably never be able to afford a trip to Hawaii. Not at 40 anyway. I’m glad someone’s been there and can share their experience with me. Sounds like you had a ball. Instead of Hawaii, my son and I are going to my Symbolic Logic class today. He’ll get a first hand look at how tough school can be for his old man. I’m looking forward to it, mostly because my son is studying German and my prof is from Germany, with the cool accent and all. It should be very cool . . .

    allstarme – A nerd? Not at all. Unless you consider the fact that blogging does take a modicum of effectiveness with a computer. Solipsistic? Well, there are times where I readily admit that my blog is my world, and I write what I want, with little regard for any potential reader. So maybe . . . but it’s really no more solipsistic than the one who, on a positive side, buries their nose in a good book occasionally or, on a negative side, the one who drowns their ambition in booze or work. We all occasionally act in ways that explicitly tell others we are all that matters at the moment . . .

  4. How do you write without regard for potential readers? I need that skill…

    I write, and cringe…and worry….and when I offend, I shrivel up back inside a complacent shell…..

    i digress…


    for my 40th birthday- I was surprised to be 9 months pregnant….no Hawaii trip for me either….

    but a more beautiful gift than I could dream…

    that was last year, I knew by the things you speak of that we are similar in age… me? 1967

    Happy Birthday, and enjoy your day!

  5. Happy Birthday! It sounds like you have a fantastic plan to enjoy this birthday. Good for you.

    And may you have many more equally happy birthdays.

  6. happy birthday, brian!!! enjoy! here’s to a great next 40….

  7. Happy Birthday!

    My own 40th is a fond but distant memory, since I’m so much older than you. (3 days, man…)

    1968 was a big year…I was busy being born on the eastern side of the Missouri (in Normandy, a St Louis suburb). In which Missouri town were you born? I grew up in the southwest corner of the state, so I’m curious.

    Hope you have a great day!

  8. Happy 40th! Have an awesome birthday! I fully support the skipping of work on this day.

  9. Happy Birthday to my Siamese Twin, who somehow came out of the deal younger than me (WTF?). Those bacon sandwiches in bed with the gang sound heavenly. Trips around the world are lovely things indeed, but the jewels in our crowns are those little people who keep us at home.

    Hope your day is as stellar as you are mah bruthah!

  10. Happy Birthday! Have a wonderful day and I wish health and happiness to you in this 40th year of yours.

    Your post makes me smile.

  11. Happy birthday, Bestest. Dude. Ever. 🙂

  12. Aww..jeez..this post made me smile until the end….a great little big birthday finger to the world of the insignificant and focus on gratitude for the present AND then you beg for gifts?? Maybe you better make those books on ethical toolkits and moral choices a “priority” read instead of “medium”. Philosophers don’t beg, they plunder.

  13. you are no footnote or wallflower. You? Are a star. Happy Birthday

  14. Happy birthday, Dude.
    Pass me some of that cake.

  15. Happy 40th Anniversary of your Birth Day!

    Unsolicited Birthday Advice:
    Kiss those babies, enjoy that crisp fall air and contemplate your next 40…. it’s gaining momentum as I type.

  16. Thank yo all for your birthday greeting and well-wishing. It’s just sad that you all couldn’t be around to shout SURPRISE! I’ve never had one of those . . .

    And for those of you wishing me another 40, GOD I hope not! I’ll take 20 or so but I can’t imagine much more than that . . .

    Jane – There must be no better birthday present than to be great (in your case, very great) with child. Life celebrating life . . .

    Gwen – The plans went somewhat awry, but being the laid back kind of day that it was, we rolled with it.

    Kathy – Thanks, my friend.

    Jennifer – I was born in a suburb of Kansas City. Not exactly a “quiet . . . town,” but I can dream, right?

    gnome – I fully support your support. It felt good . . .

    Melanie – Thanks for your comment, and welcome to The Cheek. It’s a pleasure having new faces around . . .

    Becky – My little ones are special, that’s for sure. The bacon was perfect!

    csquare – I do enjoy spreading the love. I’m glad you’re here . . .

    Erika – Thank. You.

    Pat – No irony every slips past your door. That’s why I love you so . . .

    flutter – Thank you, my dear friend.

    Kitty – Instead of cake, we had a monster chocolate cookie all decked out with icing. I saved you a piece . . .

    Tasses – That momentum? It’s becoming more than a deep rumble in the distance. It’s breaking open the sky . . .

  17. Well, now it all makes sense – and I’m please to hear that I’m not the only footnote out there! Our birthdays are 3 days apart – many happy returns to you, Monsieur Cheeky!

    Tedious as it may be, I will take over the cake-eating responsibilities on Sunday, and will raise my mug of green tea in honor of a fellow Scorpio!

  18. For my 40th birthday, I had my first ever birthday party. I threw it for myself!

    I hope you had a fantastic day!

  19. michael.offworld November 9, 2008 — 5:42 pm

    All the best on your 40th. Mmmm, bacon…

  20. HAPPY BELATED BIRTHDAY!!! It sounds like it was a day of epic joy. You are truly blessed. For my fortieth (last year) I had a temper tantrum. Seems you are a far more evlolved being, and far from being a footnote.

    May the rest of this year bring you as much joy as the first day of it did.


  21. A very happy birthday to you! It sounds like you had a wonderful way to spend your day. As a fellow western Missourian (who was actually born in Indiana) I am truly amazed that this day hasn’t made into the holiday registry yet.

  22. Happy Big 40. I’m a few years behind you and definitely not looking forward to that day. Enjoy it.

  23. Shit, I’m SO BEHIND!


    Hope it was absolutely wonderful.

  24. I read this when you posted it – 10 days ago, Happy Belated – but I wasn’t graceful enough in my own life to properly form the words to comment.

    Meaning specifically: Sure it’s just a blog, and sure I don’t mean to get all kum bai ya on you but honestly? Lyrical.

    To sit there and say “Just for today. Today I will both be and be happy.” Lovely beautifully written, and highly resonating, piece.

    Makes me ashamed of my own petty trivialities. You’re raising the bar, my friend…d*mnit!

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